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Sharples Slams ‘Mischievous And Wrong’ Nat's Ad

Sharples Slams ‘Mischievous And Wrong’ National Party Ad

Maori Party Co-Leader Pita Sharples

Maori Party Co Leader Pita Sharples told Scoop this afternoon that he was sick of Maori being used as a political football in election year. Mr Sharples was angry at the latest National Party billboard, which he considered ‘degrading’.

The controversial billboard has a grumpy looking Helen Clark scowling from the left-hand side. Above the Prime Minister’s face the word ‘Iwi’ is prominently displayed. On the other (right) side beneath the word ‘Kiwi’ a happy looking Don Brash smiles, perhaps remembering getting inflation to below 2% when he was Reserve Bank Governor.

National Party Campaign Manager Steven Joyce told the NZ Herald today that the message was more subtle than it might appear, and "with the Iwi being part of the word Kiwi as well" was not setting up an Iwi vs Kiwi polemic.

The normally genial Dr Sharples disagreed vehemently with Mr Joyce’s explanation that the billboards could be seen as inclusive rather than divisive.

“That is absolute rubbish,” Dr Sharples said after hearing what Mr Joyce had been quoted as saying. “By setting the two words up opposite each other and one in the negative [Iwi]. Because this is a National Party ad then they are very definitely setting up ‘Iwi’ as opposed to ‘Kiwi.”

Dr Sharples considered that the latest ad from the National Party was part of a broader political movement to isolate Maori.

“Dr Cullen did it in the budget. [There were] twenty-six mentions of the word kiwi and not one mention of the word Maori.”

Dr Sharples believed the ads were divisive and aimed to set ‘Kiwi’ against ‘Iwi’.

“I’m pretty annoyed about it. The Maori Party would get rid of all this sort of rubbish and bring us all together. There will be some things that Iwi want and we will justify that but to put Iwi up against Kiwi in terms of beach access is absolutely mischievous and wrong,” he said.

ENDS

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